Gusty winds likely fueled a fire at a Christian school and childcare center in Mesquite Wednesday afternoon.
Around 50 children and staff were evacuated as the fire quickly engulfed the school. The two-alarm fire happened at the Appleseed Academy in the 1000 block of Tripp Road.
Video from SKY4 showed just how massive the fire was as it accelerated quickly to consume the Appleseed Academy in Mesquite. Strong winds whipped flames so high that it was upgraded within minutes to two alarms.
Marcus Ortiz says when he drove up to the Christian school to get his daughter early, he saw the smoke. Staff and kids were already evacuating.
"And all of a sudden, it started growing. It was just bad,” he recalled. “I just jumped out of the car and called my wife. Still a little shocked, you know."
Barbara Kilpatrick, the owner and director of the school, said there were around 50 kids inside when the fire started just after 5 p.m. and speculated the cause may be one of the air conditioners.
"I'm devastated that that they don't have a place to go to school tomorrow,” she said. “So we'll have to figure something out very quickly."
Parents were notified to pick up their kids from a nearby church parking lot.
"I was worried that they weren't ok,” said parent Laura Darabpour. “But all the kids were outside and safe."
Parents said they’re thankful for how fast children were evacuated. It was something the owner chalks up to frequent fire drills.
"It's something we do every month. The kids are used to the drills,” Kilpatrick said. “We have a procedure that we follow, and we did that in this instance. And so we knew for sure that all the kids were out of the building and accounted for within just a couple of minutes."